Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Emily Deveney 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I am an IADT BSc (Hons) Applied Psychology student (Practice path). Throughout my time studying in IADT I developed specific interests in sport psychology, neuropsychology, developmental and social psychology, mental health, pain and trauma. Upon completing my BSc studies I hope to complete a Master’s degree in health psychology, and to gain experience working in hospital settings.

Project Overview

My final year project examined team selection and grit among GAA players. Grit is a relatively new concept studied within sport and positive psychology. It refers to the passion and perseverance with which individuals aim to achieve their long-term goals. Being committed to a sport team, and enduring intense training sessions requires both passion and perseverance. Some of the other most difficult obstacles team sport players also face include being chosen to play in a competitive match, and being selected for the match-day starting team. My study investigated the potential links between grit and GAA players' age and match selection status.

Project Objectives

My study aimed to answer the following research question: Does age, and being selected for the starting team panel, have an effect on GAA players' grit? The two independent variables for the study were age (18-21, 22-25, 26+ years) and team selection status (starter/non-starter). The dependent variable was grit. A 3x2 factorial between-groups questionnaire design was employed to answer the research question. The GAA players who took part in this study were recruited using convenience sampling. The players were provided with a link to a Microsoft forms document. They were then directed to the study's information sheet, where the nature of the study was explained to them. The GAA players were informed of their rights and were asked to indicate their consent prior to taking part in the study. The players were then asked questions related to their age and team selection history. Next, they completed Duckworth et al.’s (2007) grit scale. Once they had completed this scale the players were fully debriefed and thanked for their participation in the study.

Project Outcomes

The results of the study indicated that GAA players' grit did not seem to be impacted by their team selection status or their age. These finding are inconsistent with some previous studies that examined team selection, grit, and age. However, possible explanations for the outcomes of my study included the small sample size (N=57), and recruiting participants from only one GAA club. However, there were also numerous strengths in this study, including that it examined a previously neglected area, that of the potential impact of team selection, and age, on grit among a sample of GAA players. While GAA has always been popular as a sport played in Ireland, it has recently become more popular worldwide. Hundreds of GAA clubs exist in Asia and America, for example. Numerous GAA competitions are also held internationally, such as the Asian Gaelic games event. Considering this increase in GAA popularity globally, more studies should be conducted to examine both the physical and psychological attributes (including the importance of grit) of the participating individuals, as the resulting information from such investigations could potentially help to improve and enhance these GAA players' skillset and well-being in the future.